TV Rundown: March 8 - 13 | Part 1: 'Bates Motel' Re-Opens & 'Pretty Little Liars' Teases Its Big Reveal

Bates Motel | The season premiere of A&E’s “Psycho” prequel got off to another marvelous start. Sowing the seeds for the coming drama came in subtle strokes that pushed the overall story forward, while giving due to its smaller facets.

Norma learned of her mother’s death, Norman decided on an alternate route for his education, Dylan attempted to wrangle his estranged father/uncle, Emma revealed her troubling prognosis and the Bates Motel welcomed a mysterious new guest.

The complicated ties of the Bates family continued to tangle. As Norma dealt with her complex feelings for her mother, she remained blissfully unaware that her brother is lurking around White Pine Bay. Both siblings (separately) opened up about their horrendous childhood to Dylan and while both agreed their home life was terrible, their accounts of what transpired between them is strikingly different. In a series shrouded in ambiguity this is one plot point that desperately needs clarification, though Norma deserves the benefit of any doubt.

Norman’s awkwardly rushed relationship with Emma came from a good place, only to see him flagrantly blow her off for the hotel’s new siren. The series once again toyed with vagueness as the closing moments either revealed something entirely sinister about Norman's evening or an innocent drive home. The series is testing the audience to see how far gone they believe Norman to be and it’ll be interesting to see which scenario turns out to be the case.

Side Notes: Please don’t let Emma’s alarming health assessment turn into something life ending. Sheriff Romero’s altercation in the bar was a well executed display of explosive action. Vera Farmiga’s top notch performance as a grieving Norma was perfection.

Pretty Little Liars | We’re closer than ever to discovering the identity of Big A and at this juncture the possibilities seem tirelessly endless. In the lead up to the reveal, Ali’s trial began and the Liars showed up to lend their support to their on-again/off-again friend. No one was more concerned about their frenemy than Emily who readily switched back to Team Ali without any problems. Poor Hanna isn’t her top priority, it’s her backstabbing ex.

As grating as Emily’s behavior continues to be, Aria came in a close second after her ridiculous reaction to a cell phone call caused Caleb to snap. He didn’t really owe her an apology. No one has time for her to filter every occurrence through her “what will happen to Mike?” programming. At this point, it all seems a bit contrived anyway. Aria has never been this consumed with her volatile little brother, until now. 

The only person caught in the crosshairs who truly doesn’t deserve it is Hanna. Why anyone would believe she had a motive to harm Mona is absurd. She was her only real friend up until the end. Now the big question is whether Mona is actually among the dearly departed.

After learning that she had pulled off a far more sophisticated “Gone Girl” it seems feasible that Rosewood’s greatest schemer is still out there, waiting to play her next hand. How anyone could manage to outmaneuver an intellect like hers is impossible to fathom. Yes, that includes Aria’s angsty new love interest who inexplicably divulged his jealous feelings towards Mona’s superior mind, in a conversation with Aria.  

Side Notes/Questions: Emily is the ficklest Liar. Ezra is still a mighty strong Big A suspect. Will Mona rise from the “dead”? Is Aria’s creepy new guy a person of interest or a red herring? Who do you think Big A really is?

Photo Credit: "Bates Motel"/A&E, "Pretty Little Liars"/Freeform/ABC Family